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Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 1997 Apr;11(2):214-27.

Infant mortality in Norway and Sweden 1975-88: a cause-specific analysis of an increasing difference.

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Medical Birth Registry of Norway, Norway.


In a previous article, a high infant mortality was reported in the 1980s in Norway compared with Sweden. The aim of the present study was to assess secular trends in this difference, and to clarify whether the difference was confined to particular causes of death. Mortality rates, ratios of mortality rates and numbers of excess deaths were calculated on the basis of birth records comprising all livebirths in Norway and Sweden during the two periods 1975-79 and 1985-88. From the first to the second period, the infant mortality ratio for Norway to Sweden increased from 1.22 to 1.45 for single births, and from 1.23 to 1.54 for twin births. Increasing mortality ratios were observed for all ages at death. These were lowest in the early neonatal period (1.09 and 1.20 respectively) and highest in the postneonatal period (1.53 and 1.78 respectively). Within each cause of death category, the mortality rate in Norway was equal to or higher than the rate in Sweden. The highest mortality rate ratios were observed for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), 2.44 and 2.46 respectively, for the two time periods. SIDS was also the single cause of death that gave the largest contribution to the Norwegian excess mortality (45% and 53% overall, 65% and 78% for postneonatal deaths, and 65% and 79% for birthweights above 2500 g). In the second period, the excess SIDS mortality in Norway pertained mainly to infants of young mothers, infants of birth order two or more and twin births. An adverse trend for infants of young mothers in Norway was also observed in non-SIDS deaths. This suggests that in Norway, preventive health care should be improved, particularly for young mothers and their infants.

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